Congratulations to the Mission Support winners of the inaugural Excellence in Customer Service Awards. These Coast Guard units, teams, and individuals assigned within Mission Support provided superior customer service to the Operational Community in calendar year 2021.
In the midst of the historic COVID-19 pandemic and other difficulties, these awardees went above and beyond to deliver amazing support and enabled the continuation of Coast Guard missions. Some highlights of their accomplishments are below, organized by award categories beginning with units, team and then individuals:
Large Unit: Base Galveston. Base Galveston provided outstanding support to more than 1,600 Coast Guard personnel and their families displaced due to the catastrophic impacts of Hurricane Ida. The staff developed innovative tools, systems, and processes to account for and support those displaced, in addition to facilitating the procurement and delivery of supplies and services. Specifically, staff members created the Family Assessment Support Tool (FAST), a SharePoint database, to identify, respond to, and track the status and needs of people impacted by the hurricane. Staff members used FAST information to provide temporary lodging; conduct assessments of housing damage ; process evacuation orders and claims; and provide legal, financial, and medical assistance. The base displayed tremendous care for affected families, even arranging chemotherapy close to a dependent’s evacuation site so that medical treatment would not be disrupted. Base personnel also created “FAST Reports” (FASTR) with information about supplies and services to update senior leaders every day. Moreover, faced with temporary challenges related to the Financial Support and Management System (FSMS) transition, the base established the Offline Procurement System (OPS), which allowed contracting, procurement, and financial management services to continue. These creative solutions have been so successful that they are being integrated and used across the Coast Guard.
Small Unit: In-Service Vessel Sustainment Project Resident Office Baltimore. In-Service Vessel Sustainment (ISVS) Baltimore provided top-notch customer service while conducting major mmaintenance availabilities on 225-foot Seagoing Buoy Tenders such as Coast Guard Cutters Juniper, Walnut, and Cypress. Through large-scale hull and structural repairs, and replacing outdated equipment, the staff greatly improved the Coast Guard's aid to the navigation fleet. The unit also performed impressive work on the 270-foot Service Life Extension Projects, resulting in returning many operational days to the Atlantic Area commander. Their responsiveness to customers' needs, ability to integrate the administrative and repair work of incoming and outgoing crews, and swift application of innovative processes are truly commendable.
- Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber and Information Service Center-Infrastructure Services Division. This team worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve the availability and resilience of the Coast Guard's IT infrastructure and expand the service's capability to work remotely. They displayed outstanding responsiveness, innovation, and integration by quickly identifying the challenges that impeded access to information, authorities, and developing essential solutions. As a result of their outstanding efforts, a large percentage of the Coast Guard workforce was able to work remotely while performing their responsibilities.
- Hurricane Ida Personnel Support Team. This team's efforts to assist Coast Guard personnel and their families who had to evacuate their homes due to Hurricane Ida were truly commendable. Despite severe damage to include power outages that lasted for months and complex challenges such as the shutting down of legacy financial and travel systems to prepare for the Financial Systems Modernization Solution (FSMS) transition, the team quickly provided the essential support services that impacted individuals needed. Through superb responsiveness and integrated communications, the team delivered entitlements including funding for lodging, travel, and other necessities, as well as more than $1.3 million in grants and loans.
- District Seven and Base Miami Beach Regional Support Team 7. During the Coast Guard's transition to a new financial management and procurement system, this team worked tirelessly to ensure that units had the knowledge and means to continue operating properly. The team developed innovative solutions, enabling fund managers to continue working offline during the FSMS transition, and conveyed clear instructions to help them navigate the new financial system. The team also displayed stellar responsiveness by going above and beyond to ensure that no units lost essential utilities, and all units attained accurate budgets and spend plans. The team's financial support helped to alleviate the stress on members impacted by Hurricane Ida so they could continue to perform their jobs and serve the Coast Guard and the American public.
- Petty Officer First Class Ashley Pfingsten, health services technician, for performance as Base Honolulu Operational Medicine Clinic supervisor. Petty Officer First Class Ashley Pfingsten epitomized innovation, integration, and responsiveness as she consistently delivered medical care and support to more than 1,300 service members across the Hawaiian Islands and primary care for 650 operators, despite only being resourced to support 350 patients. She also quickly volunteered to serve as a flight-qualified health services technicians to help save a patient's life during a medivac from Palmyra Atoll. Pfingsten provided time-critical, mandatory COVID vaccinations and testing to meet foreign port entry requirements and ensure that hundreds of cutter crewmembers were medically prepared for on-time, scheduled departures. She also provided exceptional medical administration while overseeing documentation for 240 members during a potable water crisis on Oahu and prepared the clinic for inspections to receive the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care certification.
- Chief Warrant Officer Derek Williams, for performance as Base Cape Cod Kaehler Memorial Clinic Administrator. Chief Warrant Officer Derek Williams provided outstanding medical service during the pandemic, which led him to be recognized as a critical leader for southeastern New England's COVID-19 response. His remarkable responsiveness and innovative thinking were evident as he delivered exceptional medical care to Coast Guard members and their families, ensuring service readiness. He also led federal partner medical teams, including the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Coast Guard leadership remarked on how these recognized Coast Guard members are most deserving of the Excellence in Customer Service Awards. Rear Adm. Paul F. Thomas, deputy commandant for Mission Support, said, “Through superb dedication, innovative solutions, and integrated communications, you certainly advanced Our mission excellence by providing responsive mission support, resulting in operational success as the service faced significant challenges, including the pandemic, natural disasters, and the transition to a new financial management system. In alignment with my Commander's Intent, I applaud everyone for your responsiveness, integration, and innovation.”
All commanding officers and supervisors are encouraged to recognize members who provide outstanding mission support services by submitting nominations for the calendar year 2022 Excellence in Customer Service Awards. Please document and take photos of those who provide topnotch service this year, and submit nomination packages by Jan. 31, 2023. The eligibility criteria and updated submission instructions will be released in an upcoming ALCOAST and will be available for your review on the DCMS Sharepoint site in the near future.